Do you have a large customer service team or a small one? Start here to choose the right vendor solution

Kate Leggett

How do you start to narrow your choices when you are looking for the right customer service solution for your group. Start by asking whether your team is large or small, and whether your needs are primarily phone based, or whether you support your customers over a variety of voice, digital and social communication channels.

 

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The Forrester Wave: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q2 2014

Kate Leggett

During the past five years, the customer service capabilities leading vendors has matured as vendors have focused on solidifying the foundational building blocks of customer support capabilities. Vendors have folded new technologies such as social capabilities, business process management, decisioning, business intelligence, and mobility into their solutions to allow organizations to offer more-personalized customer service experiences. Vendors have also focused on different buyers – those that have to support enterprise-size teams who respond to inquiries primarily over the phone channel, and those that have to support small to mid size teams  who support multichannel operations.

This maturation makes it, in a way, increasingly challenging to be confident of your technology choice. In The Forrester Wave: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q2 2014, we pinpoint the strengths of 11 leading vendors that offer solutions suitable for large and very large customer service agent teams. Here are some of our key findings:

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Large Chinese Enterprise Targets Improved Agility

Gene Cao

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China face a quickly changing competitive landscape — one that their existing technology strategies can’t keep up with. To address this challenge, organizations are migrating from earlier-generation BI architectures, technologies, and organizational structures to new models and approaches. My “Chinese State-Owned Enterprise Targets Improved Agility” report, scheduled to appear later this month, describes the experience of a typical large Chinese SOE, the China National Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), which leveraged a BI-led program to jump-start the transformation of its technology management capabilities.

COFCO is China’s largest supplier of agricultural and food products and services, including oils, rice, wine, tea, and various other products, and is expanding into real estate, shopping centers, and other industries. COFCO is a large B2B trader with many technology stakeholders, and its headquarters couldn’t quickly collect or analyze data from branches or business units, delaying the company’s response to and decisions about market changes. Major obstacles included siloed operations centers and business units; inconsistent data management rules that complicated centralized data governance; and other process and people challenges.

To address these issues, COFCO decided to redefine the position of technology management in the organization and review its technology agenda and planning. It evaluated and selected BI as the most compelling project to deliver quick business outcomes that would convince business executives to further invest in the transformation. Best practices that COFCO implemented include:

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Asian Banks Are Adopting Cloud Computing, But Best Practices Are Scarce

Michael Barnes

Ahead of the publication of my full report in mid-April, I wanted to follow on from my recent blog post and expand on the topic of cloud adoption in the Asia Pacific (AP) banking sector. Despite some views to the contrary, all AP banks will ultimately leverage cloud-based services and capabilities; most already do. The real challenge is mapping workloads, processes, and data to the various flavors of cloud approaches — in other words, it’s still a portfolio management exercise.

Legacy application architectures and inflexible software licensing practices will certainly influence, and potentially hinder, cloud adoption. But while banking regulations will continue to heavily influence cloud strategies, they don’t forbid them. Senior technology and business decision-makers in the AP banking sector should therefore consider the following:

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What does Business Intelligence integration with R really mean

Boris Evelson

“A little prediction goes a long way” wrote Eric Siegel in his popular Predictive Analytics book. True, predictive analytics is now part and parcel of most Business Intelligence (BI), analytics and Big Data platforms and applications. Forrester Research anecdotal evidence finds that open source R is by far the most ubiquitous predictive analytics platform. Independent findings and surveys like the ones by KDNuggets and RexerAnalytics confirm our conclusions (and I quote) “The proportion of data miners using R is rapidly growing, and since 2010, R has been the most-used data mining tool.  While R is frequently used along with other tools, an increasing number of data miners also select R as their primary tool.”

To jump on this R feeding frenzy most leading BI vendors claim that they “integrate with R”, but what does that claim really mean? Our take on this – not all BI/R integration is created equal. When evaluating BI platforms for R integration, Forrester recommends considering the following integration capabilities:

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Benchmark Your Applications Portfolio

George Lawrie

Do you ever wonder how your business applications portfolio stacks up against your peers?

We conducted a series of interviews to understand how firms measure applications portfolio coverage of their business units and business models, end-user use of applications, and business value. We’re inviting application leaders to take a 10 to 15 minute survey anonymously to give their feedback on the metrics and their own estimate of their scores. We plan to aggregate the data then slice and dice by size or SIC or other “firmographics,” so that you can compare yourself with similar firms.

Dozens of your peers have already completed the survey and we want to write the report next week. But it's not too late. You can still join the fun here :

 https://forrester.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3rWh3knhUv6w4h7

If Your Business Looks Digital, What Should Your App Delivery Look Like?

Diego Lo Giudice

When computers were invented 60 years ago, nobody would have thought that gazillions of 0 and 1s would soon rule the world. After all, that’s all there is in any computer memory, be it a laptop, a mobile phone, or a supercomputer like Watson;  if you could open memory up and visualize the smallest elementary unit, you would “see” only an infinite sequence of 0s and 1s, something that would look like this:

Interestingly, that has not changed. Computers are still processing 1s and 0s. What has changed is that we live in an age of digital disruption, an age where software applications run and rule our business more and more. To be successful, those applications need to be engaging and entertaining so that consumers enjoy and are delighted by them; they also have to be mobile and accessible anywhere and at anytime, and they have to leverage tons of information, no matter if it comes from a database, a tweet, or Facebook.  

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Forrester's Top Trends For CRM In 2014

Kate Leggett

I'm moving into covering the greater CRM space, yet still retaining a deep focus on customer service technologies. Now-retired analyst extraordinaire, William Band and I put together our top trends for CRM in 2014. These trends are all about leveraging strategies and technologies for better understanding, connecting with, serving, and delighting customers. You can access the full CRM Trends Report for 2014 here.

Trend 1: Companies Strive To Be Experience Driven. In 2014, we predict that an increasing number of  organizations will adopt a more-disciplined approach to customer experience transformation. You can advance your organization's customer experience maturity by following a four-phased path: repair, elevate, optimize, and differentiate. To help enterprises excel at CX, leverage Forrester's framework that outlines 40 essential practices across six disciplines: customer understanding, measurement, governance, strategy, design, and culture.

Trend 2: Enterprises Will Embrace Tools That Create An Outside-In Perspective. To make meaningful improvements, organizations must align their customer experience ecosystems. That requires understanding customers' deep needs, viewing interactions from the customer's perspective, and socializing customer insights - and organizations will embark on this journey in 2014.

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Potholes In My Digital Experience! Is The Solution A New Mobile App?

Michael Facemire

Driving home from the Boston Logan airport in the winter can be an adventure. Fortunately, local governments have set up a means for reporting one of the perils — potholes. I know this because an overhead digital sign told me the number to call if I saw one. I appreciate the opportunity to help out, but the inefficiencies in this system make me cringe! If I see a pothole, I have to remember where it was until I have a chance to write it down. I also have to remember the nearest cross-street or landmark to help crews identify the proper location. And if I come across a second pothole before writing down all the first information? No chance I remember either. Does anyone remember playing the telephone game as kids? This is the modern version.

Many of our clients call with a similar challenge — how do we modernize manual processes for a digital/mobile world? With that in mind, how are many solving this today?

Create a mobile app. Mobile first! Everything is mobile these days, so let's jump on that train! While this is a good start, it’s important to understand the context of the user. There’s a good chance they’re using the GPS app on their phone to find the optimal way home. To use a new app, I have to go to the app list, find the new “Report Pothole” app, wait for it to initialize, and then report the incident. By then I’m no longer at the physical location and thus haven’t solved much of the manual problem. Solving this requires a better first step…

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Mobile App Developers: Stop Capturing Unnecessary Data Before Regulators Stop You

Martha Bennett

The findings presented in an article by German magazine Computerwoche published on Feb 11, 2014, are a forceful reminder that messages about excessive data capture via mobile apps seem to have gone unheeded so far.  As reported, tests by TÜV Trust IT established that “almost one in two mobile apps suck up data unnecessarily”.

What’s “unnecessary” of course depends on your viewpoint: it may seem unnecessary to me if my mobile email app captures my location; the provider of the app, on the other hand, could be capturing the information to provide me with a better service and/or to make money from selling such data to a third party. The trouble is that I don’t know, and I don’t have a choice if I want to use the app. From a consumer perspective, this is not a satisfactory situation; I’d even go as far as calling it unacceptable. Not that it matters what I feel; but privacy advocates and regulators are increasingly taking notice. Unless app providers take voluntary measures, they may see their data capture habits curtailed by regulation to a greater degree than would otherwise be the case.

Let’s step back a moment and consider why so many mobile apps capture more data than is strictly speaking necessary for the functioning of the app:

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